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Focus and Awareness

The two central characteristics of mindfulness

Seemingly so entangled, what defines focus from awareness and visa versa? Wouldn’t having focus mean, by shear definition, that we are aware?

Today’s Blog is a small ‘one-pointed’ definition of the two core components of practice:


Focus at its most directive is ‘single mindedness’. Its the applied concentration that many people come to mindfulness practices seeking. In a mindful sense, focus is honed by two manners of practice:

a) the ‘one-pointed concentration’ on one object or task

b) the willingness to allow our attention to reside on one thing, as it presents itself, but then at the passing of that one object or thought, our ability to rest on the next item of attention. This is known as ‘Choiceless Awareness’.

Awareness is the ability to NOTICE what is happening around you; inside your mind; your body; your life! Self-awareness is the path to fullest potential. But awareness is also the ability to take in what is happening for others and the environment. The added quality of awareness is, that it informs us when we have wondered or lost focus. Thereafter, its a matter of choice on our part, to return or correct our path…

It would seem they are the ‘chicken and the egg’ of mindfulness. Both essential for the other. A perfect marriage. And as is always the ‘counter intuitive nature’ of mindfulness techniques - the very thing we seek (more focus and awareness) are actually gained by BEING more focused and aware! Simply put, what we do ~ is what the brain becomes. Training our brain requires that we Do in order to Be.

Exercise for the day: ‘Attend to you FOCUS’

Note down what impacts your Focus. Does your phone distract you? Is hunger something that draws you out of your task management? In my case - does Blog writing dent my intention to exercise?! Make a written account of these impacts. And note how it changes the day. (I’m already late to get to the gym, which means it my routine will need to be shortened or I will be late for a client… my goodness, focus impact alters my day entirely!) Make a commitment to change one thing to enhance your level of daily focus. (I’m committing to writing my Blog posts in the evening!)

Good luck with noting your focus and becoming more aware!

Glenda Irwin